The blossoming of the cherry trees in Washington DC signals spring [Getty]

It is official; March 2012 will go down as the warmest March for the contiguous United States since weather recording began.

All of the lower 48 states recorded temperatures that saw at least one record high temperature, while many states broke hundreds. In a statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week, a total of 15,000 records had been broken.

This year’s March was also part of an above average winter. The first three months of 2012 had an overall temperature that was 3.3 Celsius higher than the norm.

Many winter-based industries suffered this year thanks to the lack of snow and colder weather. Across the Great Lakes and into New England skiing, as well as other outdoor winter activities, never materialized.

In the southeastern US, the ongoing drought continued due to lack of rain, but higher temperatures also played a major role. Wildfires, which are not uncommon here, started earlier in the season due to the heat.

For the months of April to June, the Climate Prediction Center is forecasting that over half of the US states will continue to see above average temperatures. Hardest hit will be the lower Mississippi River Valley and the desert southwest.

Source: Al Jazeera